Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Tree - after - the alternative advent 16

Not much to say............ except...

 Treebeard - take it away!

Joining in with Julie's Advent Calendar 


Tree - before - the alternative advent 15

Last Sunday, just before the snow, Himself went out into the garden to collect Treebeard..
Yes, our chrimbly tree has a name and like everything in our lives, 
a story too.

A few years ago our artificial tree (purchased over a decade ago) finally stopped looking good and was needing more than the usual primping and tending to make it look acceptable.  I had been hankering after a real tree for a while but had been put off by the price and the inner-frugal-me kept saying that the artificial tree would last another year, would last another year, would last another year, when one evening Eldest and I went to our local supermarket. Outside in the cold and wrapped up tightly was a crate of trees. I stopped and looked at them - they were both affordable and some were even marked down.  I hesitated, so Eldest went over and investigated. So I followed - as you do....

Well,to shorten a longish and not very riveting story, we brought one home and in keeping with our ethos, it was the smallest, wonkiest and rather misshapen tree with branches missing - coz we both saw it needed a home and love.

Now, several years later, with the help of judicial pruning, garden twine to train branches, Treebeard is beautiful and he graces our home with his presence and pervades our nostrils with his delicious scent during December while he wears his festive finery with such grace and gravitas.

Then, once he has done his festive duty, he is released back into the garden to frolic with the other trees that also reside there. He soon takes up his outside responsibilities - to act as a decoy for the cats, to catch cherry blossom in spring,bird feathers in early summer and leaves in autumn.

He is a happy tree and we love him :)


Christmas cracker (jokes) - the alternative advent 14

Did you hear about the stupid plastic surgeon?
Yes. He stood in front of the fire and melted!

Doctor, Doctor! Everyone thinks I'm a liar!
Doctor: I don't believe you!

Father Christmas lost his umbrella but he didn't get wet! Why not?
Because it wasn't raining!

How can you get your name in lights the world over?
Change your name to Emergency Exit!

How do monkeys make toast?
Stick some bread under the gorilla!

How do you start a polar-bear race?
Say 'Ready! Teddy! Go!'

How do elves greet each other?
"Small world, isn't it?"

How do you describe a rich elf?

How long should an elf's legs be?
Just long enough to reach the ground!

How does Father Christmas climb up a chimney?
He uses a ladder in the stocking!

I say, I say, I say! My wife's gone to the West Indies!
No. She was quite happy to go!

What happened when the snowgirl fell out with the snowboy ?
She gave him the cold shoulder !

What do snowmen wear on their heads ?
Ice caps !

If I'm standing at the North Pole, facing the South Pole, and the East is on my left hand, what's on my right hand?

sorry :D


First chrimbly card - the alternative advent 13

We celebrated our annual knit and natter festive lunch on the 5th December and cards were handed around (well - the more organised handed them out and the less organised sort of shuffled her feet and made excuses (me)).

Any hoo, although I had a few to open, this one was the first out of the envelope, so this one has the honour! (thank you Gillian!)

Now, I better sort this year's cards out.....

Joining in with Julie's Advent Calendar 2017


Snowman - the alternative advent 11

Trawling through my images looking for something for snowmen, 
I came across a few pictures I'd forgotten about.

Like this snow mama my sweet wildaboutwords 
and I built one lunchtime at work a few years ago.
She was strong and she was taking no rubbish!
Then there was this cheerful chappy,
built by Youngest, several years ago, using every last drop of snow
in our garden.
He gave the snowbloke a fezz
and salubrious smile

Trawling further back,
I came across this fellow,
from times when my two were knee high to a grasshopper
and we spent a happy school day at home 
thanks to the school being closed due the snow.

Joining in with Julie's Advent 2017


Holly and Ivy - the alternative Advent 10

Yesterday we had our annual 'wreathy making thing' where we meet and chat and eat and make. It was lovely (as usual) and we had a goodly selection of youngsters with us this year. So often with these sort of events, the participants are friends and happily mature and age all together. This particular annual fun day now has the next generation joining in and creating lovely festive wreaths and decorations with us too. Now, that can't be bad.

So, what happened? Well, there was eight of us and between us we made one star, one heart, two bunches and 13 wreaths. We make not only for our front doors but for friends and family.  And as well as our creative prowess,  we managed to heroically munch our way through a most delectable Jacobs join, mincepies and cake, tea and coffee.

So, how does this fit in with today's words from Julie?  Well, apart from all the leylandii, yew, sitka spruce, laurel, acuba japonica we always have HOLLY and IVY and this year, Eldest and I used the variegated green and gold from our garden.

Want to see some of our efforts?
Clockwise from top left - wildaboutwords - front door,
AG - front door,
Eldest -  small wreath for uni-digs, SG - heart wreath for memorial bench.
Clockwise from top left - SG - for front door, Jak - star (to go in window and light up at night),
Eldest - large wreath for different uni-digs,
Jak - large wreath for front door.
Large image - My frosty front door tangle wreath 
(the image does not show how HUGE this thing grew!),
top right Me - Moss' doggy day care lady's front door,
bottom right - AG - friends front door.

Having just added these photos, I realise I have not taken photos of everyone's beautiful creations - I try to record our efforts and must have hundreds of images from over the years. Never mind, these give you a flavour. And yes, some of those wreaths sitting on a snowy ground.

Any hoo - a few more pix of said huge white tangle wreath...

Joining in with Julie's Advent 2017,
see you tomorrow x


Christmas Bauble - the alternative Advent Calendar 9

 Bauble babble - Random facts (or fiction?)

Vintage glass bauble - German origin from approx 1930s
  1. Originally based on fruit and nuts - the precursors to the glass variety - baubles were invented in Germany in the town of Lauscha.  The earliest recorded glass shapes blown and filled with lead or tin and painted with thin layers of wax, were from 1847.
  2. It was thought that a poor glass blower who lacked the usual decorations of fruit and nuts, blew little glass orbs as replacements to hang on his tree. 
  3. The town of Tlalpujahua in Mexico makes 38 million glass baubles a year of which approximately 26 million are exported. It is the 5th largest festive bauble maker in the world.
  4. In 1848 an engraving of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and various children standing in front of a heavily decorated tree was circulated in both the UK and America. In 1850 the drawing was reproduced and Victoria is shown without a crown in order to appear more 'normal' and less regal so not to alienate the colonial viewer.
  5. In the mid 1500s Germans brought branches of evergreen during winter to encourage the spring to return. The decorations of fruits and nuts and in some cases blown eggs shells, were hung as a symbol of hope and rejuvenation. 
  6. It was also believed that by bringing in the branches or trees, not always a fir, would help keep wood spirits warm while the fruit and nuts would keep them sustained.
  7.  Although not baubles, metal and glass bells were hung in the tree to alert the home owner to the possibility of sprites hiding in the tree. As they quietly slipped through the branches, it was hoped their movement with make the bells tinkle.
And if you have not decorated your own tree yet and fancy a little mindless distraction pop over HERE or HERE or HERE and add a few baubles to the trees ;)

Part of Julie's Advent Calendar 2017


Sleigh - the alternative Advent Calendar 8

On my quest to continue an alternative view to the words supplied by Julie, sleigh stopped me in my tracks.... then with a bit of thought and northern nouse* I think I've have come up with an excellent alternative.

Sleigh -  a Dutch word with an alternative spelling of sley - an old English spelling (from before 1050s) is also associated weaving fabric.  Sleighing (sleying) the reed was to draw the warp ends through the heddle eyes of the harness...are you still with me?


No, me neither - I had to look it up !

yardage – Page 9 – Warped for Good
(source  http://www.warpedforgood.com/category/yardage/page/9/)

And in simplified terms, it is the action of pulling the yarn through the reed (the comb) with the sley (hook) which, if you look,  is the same shape as the runners on a sleigh!

So now you know!

Joining in with Julie and her Advent Calendar 2018


Bells - the alternative advent calendar 7

Pepper and Pan, our cats, are two very different creatures.

One - Pan, is a princess with a wonderfully haughty outlook on life and believes her hoomins are only there to serve her, feed her and open the door when she requires. We can only really show any affection when she needs it and only for as long as she can tolerate it. We, her hoomins, slavishly allow her to dictate.
She will wear but intensely dislikes - a collar and bell.

Pepper, is an effusive, bubbly, maddeningly over friendly little furry humbug that, give or take a few things, is virtually bombproof. We often call her 'Blunderpuss' for good reason :)
 She quite happily wears a collar...... and multiple bells.

Both girls have to wear their respective collars and bells when in the garden. 
To notify the birds, 
to notify us 
and to notify the neighbours where they are.

Pan - despite being a huge fluffy coated part Turkish Van cat with a predominantly gleaming ice white coat can completely vanish in the garden. Somehow she becomes invisible and transparent as she slides through the vegetation, disappearing from both ours and bird's eyesight - hence the bell.
Pepper - who is not road savvy, knows no personal or garden boundaries and sees fences and walls as an invite to leap up and over - wears a harness and six bells. Two below her chin and four from her chest so we can hear her every tinkle and jingle around the garden.  The number of times we have had to pull her off the fence between us and a neighbour just as she was about to go and say 'hello' to his aviaries full of exotic birds!!!

 So, jingle bells is for all year round and not just for chrimbly time here in our house!! 

So - there, an alternative bell story to Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calender 2018

You can join in too - just pop over to her page HERE for the list and instructions as well as see the other bloggers who are taking part.


Robin - The alternative advent 6

Waaay back in September, 
inspired by my visitors to the bird table,
I started painting a robin...
or two....
or three!

Ever wonder why there are robins on cards? 
In times past the postmen wore red tunics and were called 'Robins'. 
So during the festive season, 
more 'Robins' than normal, were seen delivering gifts and cards.  

The bird itself was originally called 'Redbreast'- in the days before the word orange existed
(are you with me so far?) 
Then, it became a habit that birds were given a 'full name' 
so the Redbreast became Robin Redbreast, 
the wren became Jenny Wren 
and the daw was called the Jackdaw.

Interesting isn't it? 
How language evolves, words get lost or morph into new ones. 
I find it fascinating!

So - there, another alternative to Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calender 2018!

You can join in too - just pop over to her page HERE for the list and instructions as well as see the other bloggers who are taking part.


Stained Glass Window - the alternative advent 5

A couple of years ago, I borrowed a couple of liquid chalk pens and made our own 'stained glass window'.  Best seen at night as during the day it had less impact - think I might do it again this year :) Watch this space!

Joining in with Julie's Advent Calender pop over HERE to see what is going :)


Christmas Books - the alternative advent 4

The Icelandic folk have a beautiful tradition of giving a book on chrimbly eve and then spend that time quietly reading in front of the fire in companionable silence - that to me sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening.

This tradition is called jolabokaflod which literally means festive book flood. I only learnt of it earlier this year and wondered if it could be something I could introduce into our family, then as usual, promptly forgot about it.

Now, writing this post I have remembered it - so, I think, this year, I would really like to introduce this gentle art of giving.
(image from the jolabokaflod website)

And you?
Do you bring in new traditions,
or stick to the old ones?

So continues my alternative  Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calender 2018!

You can join in too - just pop over to her page HERE for the list and instructions 
as well as finding other bloggers taking part.


Favourite Christmas Recipe - the alternative advent 3

I put this phrase out to the boys - all three - to see what they came up with.... here they all are!
Eldest - a rich a dark fruit cake
Me - a lighter Dundee marmalade fruit cake
Himself - fruit cake of any variety as long as no alcohol added (now he tells me)
Youngest - Yorkshire puddings with lots of gravy.

Think we may have a wilding among us,
he has always followed the beat of his own drum :) 

Joining in with Julie and her Advent Calendar 2018


Handcrafted for Christmas - the alternative advent 2

Something handcrafted for Christmas
Well, all the goodies I am making at the moment are for gifts this year so I can't really waffle on those, so I shall do something slightly different - of course!
 Every year we have a gathering of friends and family and hold our 'festive wreathy thing' where we make garlands and wreathes, table decorations and festive 'bunches'. There is always food involved, lots of food, music of questionable taste and lots of laughter.
 We have been doing out festive wreathy thing since 2004 and more or less with the same core group.
It has been held at a fabric mill, in a community hall, my dining-room and this year I am wondering if I can squeeze it into my studio .... not sure about that last option!
  There is always a mountain of greenery, gallons of glitter, yards and yards of ribbon and by the end of the day - an intense five or six hours later - there is an array of the most creative and beautiful festive decorations laid out on the floor. We all take photos and ooh and aah and compliment each other.
That day, that group of people,
 those handcrafted goodies are,
 to me,
the start of the festive season.

So - day two of Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calender 2018!

You can join in too - just pop over to her page HERE for the list and instructions as well as see the other bloggers who are taking part.


Letterbox - the alternative advent calendar 1


When Himself and I first met, our favourite type of walk was 'Letterboxing', which really only occurs down on Dartmoor with the rare out of area 'guest box'. A fore runner to geocaching, it was a Victorian invention whereby a calling card was carefully stored under a small cairn in the centre of Dartmoor and anyone intrepid enough to walk there and find the bottle with it's precious calling cards would collect one as proof of the adventure.
It progressed to the modern day version where a box would be hidden, then clues given. We'd set off with a flask and sandwiches and spend a happy day yomping around the moors finding boxes. Each box would contain a book and a stamp. Once found, we would ink up our personal stamp - a fox - and leave an impression in the log book and we would 'collect' the stamp from the box. Our books soon filled up and we quickly were members of the Letterbox 100 club, then the 200 club and then, just before we moved away we were working towards our 500.  Despite this day and age and the accessibility of the internet, Letterboxing has managed to maintain it's traditional style of paper catalogue of clues and collecting of a physical stamp.
We now Geocache, not as much as we used or would like to but a combination of completing most of the local ones and where we generally walk, our weekends seem even more fleeting and brief so to squeeze in a long drive out, big walk and long drive back doesn't quite fit in - it might again, but just not now.

So - there, an alternative start to Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calender 2018!

You can join in too - just pop over to her page HERE for the list and instructions as well as see the other bloggers who are taking part.

#stories #walking #


November Photo Scavenger Hunt - final one of 2017 Link up Party!

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)

Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,

don't worry - if I can do it so can you!

Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)

Not all links are successful - am contacting the blog owners again to see if they can be re-linked - have patience and please pop back later, names are still being added - thank you!

November's Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the final Scavenger hunt of 2017 - but never fear it will be up and running again in January 2018 :)

So, without further ado.........

...As the summer sky above the walled garden in Malham in June. 
...in the autumn sun streaming through my summerhouse - was actually taking photos of the cat in the sun when I noticed ... my reflection.
Starts with a ... W
... wheelbarrow, lollygagging in the meadow.
... over the community hall on our art weekend - perfect!
...tree slices slotted in a metal brace making a strange otherworldly four legged creature
...Moss' first family chrimbly - and her first proper pressie - a squeaky toy bone. The bone lasted longer than the squeak - thankfully.
...just look at that tail - you could not wish for a squishier, floofier, swirlier tail than that now could you?
... or several brushes - my now preferred weapon of choice. What's yours?
Walking last Sunday, I lugged my camera around with the plan of snapping a rusty nail on a fence post or gate, only to find that I'd left my SD card in the laptop - sigh.
So, Youngest came to my rescue and using his cell phone we found and photo-ed a couple of nails - I could not make up my mind which one to use - so I have added both :)

My own choice...
... a row of little crooked pearly whites just poised for the approaching dog biscuit - does it make you laugh as it did me? Hope so!

There, that's me done, however, I will be back on the 1st December as part of Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar 2017.

She has supplied a list of words, one for each day as part of her annual Advent Scavenger Hunt, I have added them below - ho ho ho, let the fun begin!

Something handcrafted for Christmas
Favourite Christmas recipe
Christmas book(s)
Stained Glass Window
Christmas Bauble
Holly and Ivy
First Christmas Card received in the post
Christmas Crackers
Tree before dressed
Tree after dressed
Christmas wrapping paper
Stocking or Christmas Sack/Bag
Wrapped present(s)
Father Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

 I look forward to seeing you there!